Thursday, 2/13/20 – Discipleship – Freedom

Freedom!

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When Jesus gave the great pronouncement, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” many who heard took His words as an insult. They said, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?

orange fish in ocean

Try to tell a fish that you can make it fly and the swimming fish will think you’re crazy! “I’m flying already,” it thinks, so oblivious it is of its environment in relation to the world above. The fish thinks that what it sees is everything. It does not believe in water. It believes it is flying.

“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin…. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’” (see John 8:31-33, 34, 36)

“I can quit anytime I want,” boasts the alcoholic. “I just don’t want to right now.” And so says the addict, the workaholic, gambler, rager, materialist, proud-hearted, bigot, thief, abuser, smoker, cultist, hoarder, backbiter, liar, kleptomaniac, money lover, fame seeker, egoist, coveter… and on…

Paul testified this:

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:11-13).

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The Christian finds that Christ fills all those empty corners of body, mind, soul and spirit. C.S. Lewis writes, “He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.” (Weight of Glory.) Augustine of Hippo summarises, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

Our hearts are driven to worship and if they do not choose Christ they choose something hollow, they cannot surrender it because the vacuum must be filled with something. That “something” is Christ. Embracing that Truth frees us from all lies. He frees us from sins, from their hold on us, and from their penalty against us. He frees us to experience fulfillment in Him in this life and grants us fulfillment in Him through eternity.

silhouette of people by the seashore

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”

Press on…

achievement confident free freedom

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Thursday, 2/6/20 – Discipleship – Assurance

Assurance vs Insurance

sign pen business document

I’ve always puzzled over why some companies were called insurance companies while others were called assurance companies. So, I investigated…

Insurance provides financial coverage for unforeseen circumstances surrounding an event, such as fire, theft, or flooding. Insurance refers to coverage over a limited time. In other words, IF something happens which causes you loss, the insurer will pay you for them loss as stated in the policy.

Assurance provides coverage for events that will occur, such as death. … Assurance refers to persistent coverage over extended periods or until death. WHEN something happens payment is made.

When we consider these terms in relation to our walk with Christ we discover Christ provides both!

man pushing a woman sitting on wheelchair

We do not know what challenges may come to us in our journey of faith… Perhaps prolonged sickness, perhaps great financial loss, perhaps seasons requiring great endurance or perseverance of faith, perhaps times where words must be carefully measured and where great wisdom is required… Scripture promises us that in all things Christ will prove Himself sufficient.

If God is for us, who can be against us?” Paul asks rhetorically (Rom. 8:31).

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35, 37-39)

Another time Paul testified, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13). Whatever unforeseen circumstances we experience, Christ will be right there with us in the midst of them, giving strength, whispering wisdom, prompting hope, and providing for our needs.

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Best of all Christ will be there as well at the inevitable end of the believer’s pilgrimage, for surely every one of us will die. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). His Presence then is assured. It’s in the “Policy”…

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our Guide even to the end.” (Ps. 48:14).

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me;” (Ps. 23:4).

The better Insurance/Assurance policies can be costly, but Christ’s offer is free! As the hymn celebrates,

“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside”

(Great is The Faithfulness, Thomas Chisholm, 1866–1960)

Press on…

person holding opened book

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Thursday, 1/30/20 – Discipleship – The Gem among the ice cubes

The Gem among the ice cubes

clear close up cold cool

There’s this scene in the 1984 Indiana Jones movie The Temple of Doom: Indiana is forced to surrender a valuable gem, but he finds he’s been poisoned at a nightclub table. He lunges at the antidote vial but it falls and rolls across the floor. The gem too is lost in the activity. What follows is a desperate dance: Indie trying to find the vial amid a floor of shuffling dancing feet and his female companion chasing the equally-eluding gem. She finds the vial, but must also find the gem. Then in the fracas some wine chillers topple and hundreds of ice cubes go skating across the floor. The sought after object is lost in the sea of look-alike ice cubes!

When we consider the second coming of Christ we see the devil initiating a tactic similar to spilling the ice cubes.

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The real gem is this: Jesus is going to return. Scripture proclaims this as clearly as it proclaimed His first coming–as the babe of Bethlehem. But this next time it will be as no babe, but as the exalted Lord of all. This coming will be undeniably evident to everyone, like lightning… Jesus said so,

“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matt. 24:27).

But as we wait, the devil has flooded the world with phonies. Here’s just a few since the dawn of the 20th century:

20TH CENTURY
John Hugh Smyth-Pigott (1852–1927)
Lou de Palingboer (1898–1968)
Ernest Norman (1904–1971)
Krishna Venta (1911–1958)
Ahn Sahng-Hong (1918–1985)
Sun Myung Moon (1920–2012)
Jim Jones (1931–1978)
Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997)
Yahweh ben Yahweh (1935–2007)
Laszlo Toth (1938–2012)
Ariffin Mohammed (1943–2016)
Mitsuo Matayoshi (1944–)
José Luis de Jesús Miranda (1946–2013)
Inri Cristo (1948–)
Thomas Harrison Provenzano (1949–2000)
Shoko Asahara (1955–)
David Koresh (1959–1993)
Hogen Fukunaga (1945–)
Marina Tsvigun (1960–)
Sergey Torop (1961–)

21ST CENTURY
Apollo Quiboloy (1950–)
Alan John Miller (1962–)
David Shayler (1965–)
Maurice Clemmons (1972–2009)
Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez (1990–)

lightning photo

By this ploy he has trained the sceptic to laugh all the louder at the notion of the True Gem yet to come.

But Jesus knew this would happen. He told us to be wary. Of these end times He said,

“…if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.” (Matt. 24:23-25).

Peter further warns us what to expect,

“… in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ … But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:3-4, 8-9)

Jesus is waiting for the command from the Father, saying “Now!” The lull is to give as many as possible opportunity to repent. Is He waiting for you?

The hour is urgent. We must act now.

“…the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” (2 Pet. 3: 10).

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2)

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.